New David Hardy ag facility breaks ground

David Hardy, center, says a few words before cutting the ribbon on his namesake, the new David Hardy Agricultural Science Facility, June 25, 2021.

MINERAL WELLS — Crews on the Mineral Wells ISD agriculture building hope to pour a slab on Nov. 19.

Maintenance Director Bobby Mori told trustees Monday the pre-Thanksgiving pour date is an "expected" date. So is an "expected metal delivery date" on Dec. 28, he added, reflecting an ongoing challenge of lining up equipment deliveries for construction projects.

Mori said restrooms are "rough in," and that plumbing was to undergo inspection on Thursday.

The district is adding a 13,000-square-foot ag building near the high school campus, replacing an older and smaller facility at a relatively remote site at Fort Wolters in the eastern part of the city.

The $1.6 million barn is designed with space for 30 pigs, 20 goats and around 10 cow-calf pairs.

"There's some great news in there," Superintendent John Kuhn told Mori after his report.

At the meeting's outset, Kuhn reported 3,255 students enrolled as of October. That did not include 21 students from other districts participating in the special education cooperative based in Mineral Wells, he added.

The enrollment number exceeds the October 2020 student body of 3,118 as the district approaches its pre-pandemic enrollment of 3,291 in the 2018-19 school year.

"Our enrollment, after dipping the last couple of years, is definitely moving in the right direction," Kuhn said.

Much of Monday's regular meeting was filled with similar updates on the 3A district.

Those included a report from mental health counselors Katelyn Lara and Aimee Schwartz-Jarrett, who respectively work with elementary and secondary grades.

The pair reported 59 of the younger students were referred to Lara, who drew 55 of those into her group counseling sessions at Travis, Houston and Lamar elementries.

"(The goal) is just letting them know they're not alone," Lara said.

Seventeen junior high students had been referred to Schwartz-Garrett, 13 of whom entered one-on-one counseling with her.

And 59 high schoolers were referred to Schwartz-Garrett, 37 of whom entering individual counseling on that campus.

Kuhn said after the presentation the specialized counselors "are in a very key role for this community and with the students that we have."

Also Monday, third-grade teacher Carol Dodson was welcomed to the district's Apple Corps, an honor given to one teacher on each campus by fellow teachers.

"She takes an ordinary lesson and makes it extraordinary," one peer at Houston Elementary said of Dodson.

Dodson remarked she is in her 20th year in the classroom, which will make her retirement-eligible, but added doubts that will happen at the end of the school year.

"I've still got a lot of years left," she said.

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